French Open Day 9: Murray marches into quarter-finals, Svitolina overcomes Martic scare

World number one Andy Murray booked his place in the quarter-finals in clinical fashion on day nine at the French Open, after a dominant display against Karen Khachanov.

The Scotsman was much improved in his third round match against Juan Martin Del Potro on Saturday and it was more of the same from Murray in the fourth round with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-4 straight sets victory over the Russian.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray cruised into the quarter-finals
image: clarin.com

The 30-year-old made only one unforced error in taking a one-set lead and although he did drop serve late in the second, he broke back immediately after another poor service game from Khachanov to take control of the match.

Murray broke again in the ninth game of the third set having just dropped his own serve with a rare baseline error, before he booked his place in the last eight after Khachanov sent a forehand wide.

The British number one is now just three wins away from sealing a first French Open title, as he hopes to become just the second British man to triumph at Roland Garros, following Fred Perry’s success in 1935.

Kei Nishikori stands in Murray’s way of a place in the French Open semi-finals, after the eighth seed came from a set down to battle his way past Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

The Japanese player won just 13 points in a bizarre first set in which Verdasco claimed the bagel, before Nishikori fought back to take a 2-1 lead and raced through the fourth for a bagel of his own in just 22 minutes to emerge a 0-6 6-4 6-4 6-0 winner.

2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka is also into the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, after the third seed battled past Frenchman Gael Monfils to keep hopes of a fourth grand slam title alive.

The Swiss man fell to an early break in the eighth game when he sent a wayward backhand long, but Monfils knee problems came back to hinder him as he double faulted to hand the first set to Wawrinka.

Monfils managed to hold off four set points in the second set to force a tie-break, but Wawrinka played two exceptional points to race into a two-set lead against the Frenchman, who now looked resigned to a fourth round exit.

US Open champion Wawrinka then scored two early break points in the third set, as he clinched his place in the last eight with a 7-5 7-6 (9/7) 6-2 win, having still yet to drop a set at this year’s Paris grand slam.

Wawrinka will now face former US Open champion Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals, after opponent Kevin Anderson was forced to withdraw through injury in their fourth round clash.

The Croatian was 6-3 3-0 up when the South African pulled out through a thigh injury, as Cilic reached the quarter-finals for the first time in Paris to keep his hopes alive of a second grand slam title.

In women’s action, third seed Simona Halep moved a step closer to claiming her first grand slam title in Paris, as the Romanian cruised past Carla Suarez Navarro to reach the quarter-finals.

It was Halep’s first win over the 21st seed in six attempts on clay and the 25-year-old wasted little time in dumping out Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-1 in exactly one hour.

Halep faces a last eight clash against fifth seed Elina Svitolina, after the Ukranian had to battle from falling a set behind overcome a tough fourth round battle against Petra Martic.

The 22-year-old looked in big trouble as world number 126 Martic was two points off victory at 5-2 and 30-0 up on her opponents serve, before Svitolina made a stunning comeback.

The Ukrainian claimed 20 of the last 26 points as she hit seven winners and an ace in the last three games, before sealing a hard-fought 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory when Martic sent a backhand into the net.

Simona Halep is one of three top ten seeds left in the women’s draw
image: rte.ie

Second Karolina Pliskova also had to battle back from a set down against Paraguayan opponent Veronica Cepede Royg, as the Czech remained on course to claim a first grand slam title in Paris.

Cepede Royg had a break point when leading 4-3 in the decider, but Pliskova overcame that scare to avoid a shock upset in Paris and won the remaining games to emerge a 2-6 6-3 6-4 winner against the 25-year-old.

Last year’s beaten US Open finalist now faces a last eight clash against Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, as the 28th seed saw of the threat of compatriot Alize Cornet 6-2 6-4 to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.

More results from day nine of the action at Roland Garros can be found at this link.

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